Definitly Red and L’Ami Serge star among excellent entries for Sky Bet Chase

Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Definitly Red tops the 45 entries for the £80,000 Listed Sky Bet Handicap Chase at Doncaster on Saturday, January 27.
The three-mile contest is the centrepiece of an excellent seven-race card which also features three Grade Two contests and the £50,000 Sky Bet Britain’s Most Popular Online Bookmaker Handicap Chase over two miles.
Definitly Red, 10/1 co-favourite with Sky Bet, an impressive 14-length winner of the Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at Doncaster in March, looked as good as ever last time out when defeating Cloudy Dream by seven lengths in the G2 Many Clouds Chase at Aintree on December 9.
Trainer Brian Ellison said: “We are weighing up the options with Definitly Red at the moment.
“He could either go for the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster or to Cheltenham on the same day.
“Where we go will be ground dependent as he doesn’t want the going too testing.”
L’Ami Serge (Nicky Henderson, 12/1) could revert back to fences after a string of fine efforts over hurdles.
The eight-year-old captured the G1 French Champion Hurdle at Auteuil in June, and was second, beaten two and a three quarter lengths, behind Sam Spinner on his latest start in the G1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on December 23.
L’Ami Serge has not raced over fences since December, 2016, when runner-up to Le Prezien in a graduation chase at Exeter. The pick of his six chase performances so far saw him finish third behind Black Hercules and Bristol De Mai in the G1 JLT Novices’ Chase at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.
Anthony Bromley, racing manager for owners Simon Munir & Isaac Souede, said: “We are strongly considering the Sky Bet Chase for L’Ami Serge, although we will see how he schools over the next fortnight.
“Now he is settling better over hurdles, the consideration is to try him back over a fence. Nicky thinks he is a better hurdler than chaser and the handicapper agrees as well, but there is not anything very suitable for him over hurdles between now and The Festival.
“He has a G1 penalty over hurdles and the ground at Cheltenham has been very testing in December and on New Year’s Day, so the thinking was to bypass the Cleeve and also the Rendlesham, as both could be on testing ground, and look at other angles. He is a versatile horse and jumps French hurdles very well.
“Provided Nicky and Daryl are happy with his schooling, we will probably use the Sky Bet as a prep run for the Stayers’ Hurdle. We have also put him in the Ryanair Chase, but that was a very tentative entry.”
Nicky Henderson’s three entries also include Gold Present (10/1 co favourite) who has looked good in winning competitive handicap chases at Newbury and Ascot so far this season.
The third 10/1 co-favourite is Ballyalton (Ian Williams), successful in the Listed novices’ handicap chase at The Festival in 2016 and fourth in a pair of G3 handicap chases at Cheltenham so far this season. Also on 12/1 is Go Conquer (12/1), a G3 scorer at Ascot in November.
Ziga Boy last year provided trainer Alan King with back-to-back victories in the Sky Bet Handicap Chase. King’s three entries this time around are led by the Dingo Dollar (16/1) who was a 15-length novice handicap chase victor at Newbury on December 20.
Sky Bet Chase, Sky Bet odds: 10/1 Ballyalton, Definitly Red, Gold Present12/1 Go Conquer, L’Ami Serge; 14/1 Frodon, Master Dee, Missed Approach, O O Seven, Walk In The Mill, Yala Enki; 16/1 Beeves, Bishops Road, Dingo Dollar, Flying Angel, Long House Hall, Mustmeetalady, Sametegal, Tenor Nivernais, Vibrato Valtat, Wakanda, Warriors Tale; 20/1 As de Mee, Bigbadjohn, Caroles Destrier, Coologue, Marcilhac, Pilgrims Bay, Present Man, Sizing Codelco, Thumb Stone Blues; 25/1 Aloomomo, Art Mauresque, Champagne At Tara, I Just Know, Katachenko, Label des Obeaux, Minella On Line, Ptit Zig, Sego Success, The Young Master; 33/1 Join The Clan, Silver Tassie, What Happens Now, Federici; 40/1 Federici
Doncaster’s Executive Director Tim Banfield commented: “The Sky Bet Chase remains the highlight of the National Hunt season at Doncaster and we are delighted that Sky Bet have renewed their sponsorship for a further three years.
“After Ziga Boy’s brilliant front-running performance to become the first dual winner of the Sky Bet Chase in 2017, we are looking forward to seeing what the 2018 renewal can deliver.”
Michael Shinners of Sky Bet said: “The Sky Bet Chase is the oldest race in Sky Bet’s sponsorship portfolio, with Sky Bet first backing it in 2003.
“We have enjoyed some thrilling contests over the years, with Ziga Boy creating history by becoming the first dual winner.
“We look forward to continuing to work alongside the team at Doncaster and hope to witness more exciting renewals of this historic, competitive and valuable handicap chase.”
 
The Sky Bet Chase
Listed handicap chase, £80,000 Total Prize Fund. 3.15pm, Doncaster, Saturday, January 27. For five-year-olds and upwards, three miles (2m 7f 214yds). Penalties: after January 14, a winner of a chase 5lb. Entries closed January 9, entries revealed January 10 (45 entries), weights revealed January 17. Five-day confirmation stage January 22, final declaration stage 10.00am, January 25.
Horse
Age
Owner
Trainer
ALOOMOMO (FR)
8
The Large G & T Partnership
Warren Greatrex
ART MAURESQUE (FR)
8
Mrs Johnny de la Hey
Paul Nicholls
AS DE MEE (FR)
8
The Stewart Family & Judi Dench
Paul Nicholls
BALLYALTON (IRE)
11
John Westwood
Ian Williams
BEEVES (IRE)
11
Paul & Clare Rooney
Jennie Candlish
BIGBADJOHN (IRE)
9
Nigel Morris
Nigel Twiston-Davies
BISHOPS ROAD (IRE)
10
Alan Halsall
Kerry Lee
CAROLE’S DESTRIER
10
Mrs C Skipworth
Neil Mulholland
CHAMPAGNE AT TARA
9
John P McManus
Jonjo O’Neill
COOLOGUE (IRE)
9
The New Club Partnership
Charlie Longsdon
DEFINITLY RED (IRE)
9
P J Martin
Brian Ellison
DINGO DOLLAR (IRE)
6
M Warren J Holmes R Kidner & J Wright
Alan King
FEDERICI
9
Jon Glews
Donald McCain
FLYING ANGEL (IRE)
7
R J Rexton
Nigel Twiston-Davies
FRODON (FR)
6
P J Vogt
Paul Nicholls
GO CONQUER (IRE)
9
Paul & Clare Rooney
Jonjo O’Neill
GOLD PRESENT (IRE)
8
John & Barbara Cotton
Nicky Henderson
I JUST KNOW (IRE)
8
M B Scholey & R H Scholey
Sue Smith
JOIN THE CLAN (IRE)
9
J P McManus
Jonjo O’Neill
KATACHENKO (IRE)
9
Trevor Hemmings
Donald McCain
LABEL DES OBEAUX (FR)
7
David Sewell & Terry Warner
Alan King
L’AMI SERGE (IRE)
8
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
Nicky Henderson
LONG HOUSE HALL (IRE)
10
Carl Hinchy
Dan Skelton
MARCILHAC (FR)
9
A Brooks
Venetia Williams
MASTER DEE (IRE)
9
Paul & Clare Rooney
Fergal O’Brien
MINELLA ON LINE (IRE)
9
AHB Racing Partnership
Oliver Sherwood
MISSED APPROACH (IRE)
8
Alan & Andrew Turner
Warren Greatrex
MUSTMEETALADY (IRE)
8
Diane Carr
Jonjo O’Neill
O O SEVEN (IRE)
8
Christopher Hanbury
Nicky Henderson
PILGRIMS BAY (IRE)
8
Clifford, Gosden & House
Neil Mulholland
PRESENT MAN (IRE)
8
Woodhouse & Sutton
Paul Nicholls
PTIT ZIG (FR)
9
Barry Fulton & Chris Giles
Paul Nicholls
SAMETEGAL (FR)
9
John & Barbara Cotton
Paul Nicholls
SEGO SUCCESS (IRE)
10
Tim Leadbeater
Alan King
SILVER TASSIE (IRE)
10
R M Howard
Micky Hammond
SIZING CODELCO (IRE)
9
Ann & Alan Potts Limited
Colin Tizzard
TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR)
11
Boultbee Brooks Ltd
Venetia Williams
THE YOUNG MASTER
9
Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters
Neil Mulholland
THUMB STONE BLUES (IRE)
8
Paul & Clare Rooney
Kim Bailey
VIBRATO VALTAT (FR)
9
Axom XLIII
Emma Lavelle
WAKANDA (IRE)
9
M B Scholey & R H Scholey
Sue Smith
WALK IN THE MILL (FR)
8
Baroness Harding
Robert Walford
WARRIORS TALE
9
Michelle And Dan Macdonald
Paul Nicholls
WHAT HAPPENS NOW (IRE)
9
Deva Racing Dr Massini Partnership
Donald McCain
YALA ENKI (FR)
8
Hills of Ledbury (Aga)
Venetia Williams
 
45 entries
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